Walking into Morning Gloryville feels a little like entering any club. After you get your wristband, it's a short trip to the dance floor, where dozens of people dressed in neon and sequins groove ecstatically to pulsing house music. If you happen to forget for a moment that it's 8 a.m. on a weekday, all the better.
The event, which began about a year ago in the U.K. and made its New York City debut Wednesday, bills itself as an "immersive morning dance experience." It has all the trappings of a traditional late-night dance party, except it runs from 6:30 to 10:30 in the morning. The bar serves coffee and fresh juice instead of overpriced cocktails, and staffers give massages to anyone who needs a break from dancing.
Some 200 people bought advance tickets to the party, which took place at Kinfolk 94, an event space on Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg. Attendees were mostly in their 20s and 30s, with attire that ranged from business casual to full-on club gear. Some were there for the workout; others just wanted to dance.
"We heard about the event and thought it would be quite good to have a bit of exercise in the morning to wake ourselves up," said Kristina, a partygoer who came with a friend. "It's just a bit different than going to a boring gym. We go to a lot of dance parties, so we thought it would be fun."
Aside from the unusual timing, the biggest difference between Morning Gloryville and an ordinary rave is the lack of alcohol and drugs — a deliberate decision on the organizers' part. In club culture, "you find people who stop partying because they can't accommodate everything that comes with it," said Harry Inglis, who co-organized the New York event with fellow London transplant Annie Fabricant.
Inglis frequents more traditional club nights around the city, and stressed that there is "nothing preachy" about Morning Gloryville's ethos: "The sober side of it is finding people who love it and recreating that energy with them. Because that sort of energy you find in the middle of the dance floor late at night — that's where the real thrill comes from."
Sherri Kronfeld, one attendee, believed the lack of drugs added to the party's appeal. "It's maybe a little harder initially to get the party going for everyone, but I think that what that means on the dance floor is that it's festive and innocent and playful. It's a different vibe from what I picture is a typical clubbing experience," she said.
Another advantage to the event's no-alcohol policy? No hassles from the police. Inglis said he contacted the NYPD in advance of Wednesday's event, "just to make sure everything was in order," and was told he needed no special permits. "Being sober just opens up a whole new dynamic and makes it easier to run," he said.
There's another Morning Gloryville event planned for June, and its founders plan to expand to such far-flung locales as Sydney, Australia, and Zagreb, Croatia. Whether or not donning leopard-print spandex and partying for a few hours before work is your idea of a good time, there's no denying the event's originality.
"I thought it was something that New York was missing, and how often do you find that?" said Georgie Okell, a Morning Gloryville staffer who was working the door Wednesday. "Four hours in the morning to get into your day, communally dancing and feeling great. Everyone here is going to go work feeling phenomenal."